OTR Interviews

Standard & Poor's Negative Credit Rating on the U.S.: We Have Been Warned

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 18, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Senator Mark Kirk joins us live from Chicago. Good evening, Senator.

SEN. MARK KIRK, R-ILL.: Thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, we have now been -- as you say in your press release, we've been warned.

KIRK: We have. This was the official warning to the American people and its government by the most respected analysts that the path we are on is completely unsustainable and that without a major change, we will lose our AAA credit rating. Interest rates will go up. And many of the things we've seen in many European governments, where the economies and currencies collapse, would happen here unless we change direction.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any problem, Senator, the fact that -- look, I don't dispute that Speaker Boehner going to Iraq and Pakistan or Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid going to China -- those are very important countries to our nation. but right now, as we are pushing up on this debt ceiling and we're sure to have a big fight, we've got that problem, and we've got this warning today, is this is a more urgent problem and should -- and they should be here in Washington leading tonight, rather than attending to those other problems?

KIRK: It is. We saw when Standard & Poor's and other organizations downgraded other countries, they went into economic freefall. This issue is so important. The Congress should not be in the middle of a recess. The president should recall the Congress and we should begin work immediately on a budget reduction measure and serious reforms to turn around the fiscal picture. Otherwise, we risk great harm to American families and their kids' economic future.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I don't dispute there are huge humanitarian problems around the country -- around the world, and I do care about those problems, too. But when I read in the paper yesterday, for instance, that Flint, Michigan, is now the murder capital of the country, it has horrible economic problems, we're going to hit our debt ceiling, there's so many places across -- unemployment's horrible. People are losing their jobs, can't meet their mortgages. It seems to me pushing up against the debt ceiling, that our leaders -- time is to lead is now.

KIRK: That's right. And there's a glimmer of hope. We have a bipartisan "Gang of Six," three Republicans, three Democrats, who are working on budget control legislation. I think they've got a shot at offering a plan to fix this problem. But our chances would increase if the Congress was home and we were working on this right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what is the justification for taking the two weeks off? I know this wasn't -- I mean, you didn't call the recess, but what is the justification?

KIRK: It's simply what Congress has done in the past around the Easter break. But given the danger to our long-term economic future, I think that we should be at our desks working. The House of Representatives and eventually the Congress did a good thing by cutting some spending. But this warning shows that we've got to do a lot more. And I think our economy, our future and our allies would be reassured if we were in Washington cutting the budget right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we -- it -- it's sort of like breaking news, is it's all hands on deck. We call on everybody to work during breaking news, and certainly, this is -- I think is breaking news economically for our nation. But Senator, thank you, sir.

KIRK: Thank you for having me.